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Goomba Stomp, Three Years Later: 5000 Posts, Millions of Readers, and Lifelong Friendships

On this day three years ago, along with my colleague Patrick Murphy, I launched Goomba Stomp.

A lot has changed in three years, but one thing that hasn’t is that every year we publish a post on our anniversary that reflects back on the last 365 days and what we’ve accomplished as a team. I say ‘team’ because Goomba Stomp is currently home to 52 talented writers worldwide, and since we launched on December 14, 2015, we’ve had well over 100 writers come and go. Without each and every single one of them, we wouldn’t be where we are today.

This past year hasn’t been easy. To be honest, it has been extremely tough on most of us here. Not only was our site hacked multiple times, but we’ve parted ways with several incredibly talented writers who went on to do bigger and better things (mostly write for video game publications who can actually afford to pay a full-time salary). Each and every time a writer comes and goes, I feel like I’m losing a friend, even if some of us never had a chance to meet in real life.

If that wasn’t bad enough, our website also crashed; we nearly lost 200 articles, and throughout the year we discovered several writers from other outlets had plagiarized our work, including one famous editor from the biggest gaming website in the world.

In the piece I published two years ago celebrating our first anniversary, I wrote that celebrating one year may not seem like such a big deal, but anyone who has ever tried running an online blog with multiple authors publishing daily posts can tell you how hard it is. Three years later, I can now tell you that it doesn’t get any easier.

The second year saw less dramatic leaps than the first, but we kept growing nonetheless. In our third year, however, we really kicked ass, covering well over 40 film festivals and expos worldwide, publishing over 200 hundred reviews, and writing over two thousand articles that have attracted millions of readers from across the globe. Three years in, and we show no signs of slowing down.

There’s no doubt that our small team has accomplished a lot over the years, but what I am most proud of is how our team has really come together to form life-lasting friendships. If not for them, I don’t know how I would have gotten through some of the hard times and obstacles I’ve faced in 2018. I am forever grateful to all of those who have contributed to the site — be it a writer, reader, reader who became a writer, former writer who remains a reader, a podcaster, an editor, and even those friends offering moral support.

I’ve asked some of our writers if they could whip up a few words about their experience writing for Goomba Stomp and what it means for them. If ever you were wondering why anybody would write for our site, perhaps you’ll find the answers below.

— Ricky D

 

A symbol of what people can accomplish when they set aside their drama and differences to work on something meaningful.

Wow, has it been three years already? While I haven’t technically been at Goomba Stomp for all three years (I started in January of 2016), I’ve been here long enough to see our evolution from a Nintendo-focused site to a bastion of quality games journalism and to witness our collective growth as a website and organization. It’s been quite the journey.

It hasn’t been easy. We’ve faced a number of barriers to our success, but at every turn we’ve overcome, depending on our handcrafted journalistic prowess to propel ourselves forward.

That our site pulls together so many people from diverse backgrounds — spanning countries, continents, and time zones — is a testament to our overwhelming love for games. That someone like me, an evangelical Christian working and living in the Appalachian mountains could write for a Canadian website that employs authors that live in North America, Europe, Australia, and Japan isn’t just a testament to the power of the Internet, but a testament to our site’s unifying vision.

In a time of great upheaval throughout the world, our site is a symbol of what people can accomplish when they set aside their drama and differences to work on something meaningful.

And, that’s why I’ll always be grateful for Goomba Stomp and its founder, Rick. Rick gave me a chance. He didn’t judge me based on my religion, worldview, or opinions; he just let me talk about my passion: games. He believed, as he still does, that in the end, no matter how they might appear on the outside, all lovers of the medium are the same — people who just, well…love games.

So, as I look back on the (almost) three years I’ve been here, I’m impressed by how far we’ve come and excited for our future. Here’s to another year of greatness! Happy Birthday, Goomba Stomp! (Izsak Barnette)

Goomba Stomp has become a refuge for a style of journalism rarely seen

I joined Goomba Stomp not long after it had first begun in 2015, and while the core ambition remains the same, the site has evolved and adapted to far exceed ours and our many readers’ expectations; I probably wouldn’t be selected to write for Goomba Stomp now had I applied with the same article today. The writers have gone above and beyond to provide the exceptional journalism and thought-provoking pieces that fans of gaming and film so deservedly crave, particularly in an era where we bear witness to many similar sites finding themselves unable to continue.
Goomba Stomp has become a refuge for a style of journalism rarely seen, especially for a writer looking to produce meaningful content rather than clickbait. Indeed, I had almost given up writing before joining Goomba Stomp. Before, I found myself writing songs for bands that would never make it and blog posts for companies that would never appreciate it. I had to change, and so applied on a whim, with nothing more than an assumption of rejection. Sometimes the odds do favor the brave.
I’ve found my own particular style of writing since then, developing a voice a never knew I had. Even more remarkably, six months into my Goomba adventure I was made the Nintendo Editor. While the decision surprised me, it was also humbling to know that my dedication hadn’t gone unnoticed. Since then, I’ve hoped to continue to improve and provide Nintendo content that engages and inspires our readership, ensuring that they continue on this journey with us to fill the journalistic void that so many other publications have since vacated. (James Baker)
It’s a great site, run by a ruddy great bunch of lads and lasses.

There have been numerous pivotal moments in my games writing career (if you can call it that), but after writing and podcasting for my own sites for nearly ten years while desperately trying to get into the big time, it was a job application for a pretty large UK games site that sparked an epiphany of some sorts within me. I’d already made zero pennies writing for myself, and this website staff writing job was offering me a £10k pay cut on the shitty day job I already hated. It was at this point I realized that there is very little to be gained from games writing in a fiduciary sense.

Making money from this venture is all about the luck of being right at the very top of the tree, and even then, writing isn’t where the money’s at. But I still love it, and I still see it as an important way of providing the considered, thought-provoking, humorous, and intelligent discussion on video games that I grew up reading in N64 Magazine and Edge here in the UK. Having turned down that staff writer job, I had to settle into a new modus operandi around this games writing lark; this was going to have to be a hobby, all about the love of the craft.

I know how pretentious that last sentence is, and anyone who’s read my weekly news column here on Goomba Stomp knows that very little of what I write is thought-provoking, but it’s most definitely done because I love to express myself in this medium. Goomba Stomp started out for me as a way to maybe get my writing read by more people than I could manage by myself, but morphed into so much more. As a weekly outlet for my opinions, rants, and crappy jokes, it takes up so much of my week’s attention, as I’m always thinking about what to include and what to say about it. It gives every week in my life that little extra purpose, and when other things in life haven’t, Goomba Stomp has always been here.

Goomba Stomp was supposed to be one of many sites I was going to freelance for, but I’ve never once thought to cheat on the old girl. I love writing for this site. I love the freedom that Rick has given me, and the praise and respect I get from my colleagues here for my work. As obvious as it sounds, writing for yourself doesn’t necessarily give you many honest opinions, or any opinions at all, and the community of writers here is so friendly, welcoming, and supportive. It completely changed how I approached games writing, while simultaneously making me feel valued and — dumb as it sounds — good at what I do.

If you’ve ever read my work, thank you, sincerely — even if I get little more out of this than maybe a nod or a little chuckle from you. If anyone out there looks to my column and says to themselves, “Oh, it’s that sweary, ranty, moany English guy again, I’ll check this out for a laugh,” then you’re precisely why I do this, and I couldn’t be more appreciative of you giving me your attention. Most importantly, I wouldn’t have your attention without Goomba Stomp. It’s a great site, run by a ruddy great bunch of lads and lasses, and as far as games writing goes, it’s my home. Who doesn’t love being at home? (Alex Aldridge)

It’s always been one of my dreams to write about games.

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been nearly two years since I joined Goomba Stomp. I distinctly remember looking for Nintendo-themed podcasts, finding Goomba Stomp’s NXpress, and listening to it all throughout my travels in AmeriCorps before finally deciding to apply for a writing position in January of 2017. For reference, my first-ever article was on rumors leading into the Nintendo Switch January presentation.

Since then, we’ve brought on tons of new talent, gotten to the point where we can cover E3 admirably, and even started a burgeoning anime section (major props to Harry for that). It’s always been one of my dreams to write about games, and Goomba Stomp has been both an educational and cozy place to fulfill that dream. (Brent Middleton)

I was immediately welcomed to the team and felt like I was a part of the group.

I’ve always been a gamer and an aspiring writer, so when I realized that I could try and put the two together, I started looking around for places to submit my writing. I had only had a few bits and pieces published when I happened upon an advert for a website called Goomba Stomp. I was immediately drawn to the ad due to the emphasis that was put on not creating articles simply for clickbait purposes. Instead, they wanted genuine and passionate articles from people who cared about their chosen topic. I was also pleasantly surprised to see that Goomba Stomp was not just about gaming. It has articles on film, television, anime, and more, as well as podcasts. I was impressed by the articles I read, and learned a lot whilst reading.

I responded to the email with some samples from the small amount of stuff that I had put out there, but I didn’t expect to receive an answer, as I didn’t have much experience. I was pleasantly surprised when I did get a response. I was spoken to with professionalism and given all the necessary information to start writing, so I felt like contacting them had been a great decision.

I was immediately welcomed to the team, and felt like I was a part of the group. I wasn’t forced into writing certain things; I had choice, independence, and flexibility. Since starting writing here a couple of months ago, the guys from Goomba Stomp have really made me feel at home, and I’m grateful for that. But more than anything, I feel like I belong and am amongst like-minded people. I only had a few people in my life who I felt I could talk to about my gaming and film obsessions. My boyfriend has an interest too so he lets me talk his ear off sometimes, and my mum and brother make heartfelt efforts to listen to my rants on the latest trailers or game releases. Other than that, I didn’t have anyone. But now, I do. I feel like my Goomba Stomp teammates are always on the end of a social media message if I feel the need to rant and rave about something, and I know they will understand. That has been one of the best bits of becoming part of the team, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity.

Goomba Stomp is a brilliant site full of thought-provoking articles, and I’m just happy to be a part of it. The team has made me realize that this is what I want to do. I want to write and be involved in the gaming world in whatever way I can. I don’t have complete confidence in my writing abilities yet, but being part of such a supportive team is definitely helping me get there.

Thanks, guys! Keep being awesome. (Antonia Haynes)

Goomba Stomp cares about creating a personal touch within the team.

I’m lucky enough to have been writing articles for Goomba Stomp for nearly half a year now. They have a hard job keeping up with everything that’s coming out in the world, and due to the competition, it’s even harder to stand out, but this group of writers and editors refuses to play the easy game and simply produce the same type of material as everyone else. This team upholds honesty and creativity above anything else, knowing that’s what readers want to see, and they have an infinite amount of enthusiasm to share when it comes to why something matters.

Despite all of this, the reason I love working with this team comes from an editor.  After writing a less-than-stellar first draft of an article, he messaged me. He mentioned that my article was factual, but it wasn’t quite right. In essence, it wasn’t from the heart. He knew that people would prefer to read something that came deep within me, and not simply tidbits copied from Wikipedia. Since then, my writing has improved, and I started to find even more reasons to enjoy it. Goomba Stomp cares about creating a personal touch within the team, and with their readers. That’s why they matter. (David Harris)

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